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KING, FREDDIE (1934-1976).

Freddie King, African-American blues musician, was born in Gilmer, Texas, on September 3, 1934, the son of J. T. Christian and Ella Mae King. At the age of six he began playing guitar with his mother and an uncle, Leon King. He moved to Chicago when he was sixteen and developed his style under the influence of Sam (Lightnin') Hopkins, Aaron Thibeaux (T-Bone) Walker,qqv Riley (B. B.) King (not a relative), and others. He claimed that Eddie Taylor and James Charles (Jimmie) Rodgersqv taught him how to use guitar picks. From 1950 to 1958 he played in local clubs and in the latter year made his professional debut. In the 1950s King worked with the Sonny Cooper Band and Earlee Payton's Blues Cats making records for the Parrot label. In the 1960s he recorded under the Cotillion label with his own band. In 1970 he signed with Shelter Records, a company partly owned by musician Leon Russell. He recorded with such early greats as Muddy Waters, Sonny Cooper, and T-Bone Walker. In 1960 he also began touring the United States, Europe, and Australia, appearing in concert halls, night clubs, and at jazz and blues festivals. Some of his classic songs were "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," "Hide Away," and "Woman Across the River." Like many blues artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s King had close ties to the rock-and-roll world. Musicians such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck recorded his songs, and King even toured with Clapton in the mid-1970s. In 1963 he returned to Texas and settled in Dallas. In 1971 he recorded the first major live album ever made in Austin at Armadillo World Headquarters,qv known as "the House That Freddie King Built." He opened the club and returned periodically for fund-raisers. His recordings with Shelter Records brought him recognition throughout the state as a "top-notch Texas bluesman." He married a woman named Jessie, and they had seven children. He died on December 28, 1976, and was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park, Dallas.

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